From our archives, Compass Magazine, Aug. 2000
Courtney Donovan Smith
When the woman who, only minutes before, was brandishing a huge dildo and cracking a whip tells me that she has ‘performed for children all over Canada and America’; should I have been alarmed?
When the performer in question is Shannon McNab, of course not. Shannon is a professional entertainer. With a background that includes a successful ‘Commitments’ style band in her native Vancouver, schooling and performing in Manhattan and performances all over North America – there is no question that Shannon has what it takes. Those who saw her perform at the American Chamber of Commerce 4th of July celebration know her wide appeal and obvious singing talent.
Her vocal strengths are also on display on the CD ‘Big Instruments * Tremendous Sound’. With Stu Phillips-Laurie, Raven Breas and Sara Jane Strutt filling out this local band, this collection of classics adds something previously missing from our rock-dominated local music scene. My personal favourites on this album include ‘do right’, ‘lover man’ and the only original song on the album, ‘fufu her chyo’. To get a feel for these songs, think back to 40’s movies with the sultry singer on stage and the gruff male lead trying to pull his jaw up off the table, with either soldiers or gangsters in zoot suits. Other songs from different eras and musicals include ‘vincent’, ‘don’t let the sun’ and ‘can’t take that away from me’. This CD is available around town, with Bhoom, Taj Mahal, Salt & Pepper and PJ’s certain to have copies.
To the late night scene Shannon is best known for the S&M Cabaret, Shannon’s exciting mix of show tunes and racy skits. Attempting to describe this show, adjectives seem to fail most people. ‘It’s amazing, I mean, it’s¡Kyou’ve just got to see it, it’s great’ being the typical sort of description. By turns raunchy, sweet, hilarious, romantic and dramatic – it completely captivates the audience (see ‘Into the Spirits’ article in this issue). Shannon manages in a matter of minutes to cover a range from sweet to naughty, from glamorous to comedic and from the highest notes to the lowest.
Even more impressive, in spite of it’s loose and impromptu appearance – it is all tightly integrated, cleverly assembled and beautifully timed. Although it is a cliche, it is no less true here – she makes it look easy.
Taichung has been blessed with the talented performances of Miss McNab, but get ready to panic! With a three month stint in London’s West End coming up, we may be facing a Shannon-less future. What London could possibly offer that Taichung couldn’t is beyond us here at the Compass, but some folks seem to think that London has a slightly better performing arts scene than we have here. If Shannon doesn’t return, that might be the case.
Be sure and check her out at the Bhoom first birthday party on August 26th at Bhoom, 244 Taichung Kang Rd. Sec. 1; Tel: 326-9429. You can also follow her career at www.shadesofshannon.com.